Building Impact Through Giving: Ryan Tedjasukmana


As an Indonesian American who has been living in the Midwest for more than a decade, alumnus Ryan Tedjasukmana is staying connected to Purdue and his cultural identities through the Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center (AAARCC). Hailing from Jakarta, Indonesia, Ryan was drawn to engineering by an interest in transportation. In high school years in Singapore, he discovered his knack for math and science so, combined with his interest in transportation like airplanes and spacecrafts, it felt like a natural decision to pursue engineering. His choice to attend Purdue ultimately came down to the academic excellence of the engineering program and the university’s deep and rich history in aeronautics and astronautics.

Ryan graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering in 2013. During his time as an undergraduate, he became involved with the Indonesian Student Association. The organization gave him a sense of community; he knew there were students at Purdue who had similar backgrounds and with shared experiences being overseas. He also became more invested in engineering as he progressed through his undergraduate studies, with involvement in honor societies and engineering-focused clubs.

After a brief time spent in the workforce after obtaining his B.S., Ryan returned to Purdue for his Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics, which he completed in 2015. The AAARCC was established in April 2015, right as Ryan was graduating, so for most of his time at Purdue it was just an idea. He was excited to see a cultural center for Asian and Asian American students, noting the importance of a support system for students before entering the workforce. “For many Asians, staying long term in the United States and working in the industry, there’s not a lot of support here. If you’re in bigger companies or things like that, there are clubs, but in general there isn’t too much,” Ryan recalls his own experience transitioning from university.

Two support systems that Ryan found when he graduated were the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). SASE is a professional organization for Asians and Asian Americans, providing mentorship in the STEM field. Ryan became a member in 2016 and made connections that led to valuable professional networks.

SME is a nonprofit on a mission to promote and support professionals in the manufacturing industry through trainings and certifications, webinars, and networking. Ryan first became involved in 2018 and he was nominated by colleagues to be featured in SME’s magazine issue, Manufacturing Engineering’s 2018 Class of 30 Under 30. As an officer for a local chapter, Ryan maintains their social media platforms and acts as a resource for local members. He also volunteers for SME Headquarters, helping with their certification program and aiding students through their classes.

With his support systems, Ryan procured a position as an Application Engineer at an IT consulting and software company upon graduation. In this role, he discovered a love for his ambition for robotics and large-scale factory automation, a niche and new industry in the aerospace manufacturing world.

Like many of us, the COVID pandemic turned the world - and many industries - upside down. The aerospace manufacturing industry was not immune to the impact of the virus. In 2020, Ryan found himself between jobs for 9 months as a result of the hits that the aerospace manufacturing took during the pandemic. His biggest piece of advice to students, or anyone, facing professional challenges was to take your time. Though he was disappointed to experience the setback in his career, he took time to reflect and pause before jumping head first into the job search.

During this time, he also became more familiar with the AAARCC and their programming. His former colleague, Dr. Pamela K. Sari, became Director of the Cultural Center in 2019. Though he could not experience it as a student, through seeing virtual events and different programming during COVID, Ryan was able to see the AAARCC in action. He was able to see the positive impact and support the Center had on students. As an alumnus, he recognized how valuable an organization like the AAARCC would have been during his time as a student and felt moved to give back.

Ryan found a new position with a company in 2021 as an Applications Engineer. Since then he was promoted into a role as an Advanced Mechanical Engineer, and he continues to look to the horizon for exciting opportunities ahead of him. Even with a thriving career, he maintains his connection to Purdue and seeks new ways to connect with students and give to the AAARCC. Just recently, he returned to Purdue for the AAARCC’s Annual Keynote Event for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, where he was honored as a champion of the Cultural Center. He looks forward to finding new ways to continue supporting the AAARCC to see it thrive and grow.


AAARCC Contact Info:
Address: 915 5th Street, West Lafayette IN 47906
Phone: (765)496-0488


915 5th Street (corner 5th/Waldron)
West Lafayette, IN 47907

Phone: 765-496-0488  
Fax: 765-494-1225

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